Creative Energy: The Amazing Healing Benefits of Participation In the Arts –
“Wellness” is an ambiguous term whose definition lies in the body of the beholder. The road to wellness is a personal path. “Well” for one, maybe less-than-well for another. Many of us travel that road passing for well because we are “well-enough” to continue jumping through the hoops along the way. The contents of this post are for informational purposes only and do not render medical or psychological advice, opinion, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor, does it imply or intend to define what “Wellness” looks like to you.)
When “well enough” is no longer enough, what do you do?
Humanity is geared toward flight or fight reactions. In un-wellness we may fight if backed into a corner but, the urge to flee is likely to dominate because energy levels have been depleted. Where do we run when the very thing we are trying to escape resides within ourselves? Escape into activities which simply serve to increase our dis-ease happens. However, since the dawn of humanity, the survival of the species has depended upon the realization that there are indeed more beneficial means of escape that are accompanied by more productive outcomes.
Often, this begins with a new image. Whether an image in front of us or a dream inside of us; it is the ability to see something other than what is. Recognition of the wrongness of the status quo manifests in its proximity to the new image. Creators imagine the possibility of something different. They are able to envision alternate options and bring them into being. Within the creative process, we are no longer trapped under the weight of illness.
In practical application, the making of anything requires our minds and our physical form to accept the current situation and adapt to it in order to function around, and often in spite of, the burdens and perceived limitations of injury and disease. Here in lies, what I have come to understand as, the fundamental healing properties of participation in the arts. Inevitably, the mind and body realize the intrinsic rewards of acceptance and adaptability as we are empowered to facilitate transformation.
Creative energy is the origin of all life on our planet.
This constructive life force has room for pain and grief, but very little space exists there for destructive patterns, activity, interpretations, or beliefs. Physiologically, during the creative process, this life force energy changes body chemistry. The cell structure is altered. Damaged cells are healed. Our bodies learn new methods of mobility when we are unable to resume our old ways. Whether it’s making music, drawing, painting, writing, editing, cooking, growing, building, carving, sewing, recording, assembling, in the process of making; this creative power we witness within ourselves pulls us back from the abyss that threatens our wellness. No longer powerless, we begin to heal whatever is broken inside of ourselves. Perhaps more importantly, we come to know that we can.
The Foundation for Art and Healing states that modern medicine continues to develop an increased interest in how the arts support healing. Increasing numbers of professional organizations are taking a scientific approach to documenting tangible evidence of these benefits to determine how creative energy influences injury, disease, and recovery.
Indigenous cultures have always known that the act of creating is a beneficial coping tool which becomes an asset to any holistic approach to wellness.
This same creative energy pushes the dandelions up and flows through the new spring grass that we take for granted.
It transforms the dragonfly and brings forth the butterfly. It makes water from the mist. It connects us to the itty-bitty things blooming around us and the grand things that hold our planet together. Rooted in the earth beneath our naked toes, this energy brings trees to the surface to clean the air we breathe. Understanding dawns as we acknowledge that this power was born inside of us, too.
Inclusion in this miraculous natural network connects to life in a way which defies the marginal existence of chronic illness and penetrates the isolation of our limiting beliefs.
The art of making reveals to us the magic which resides beneath the disease and runs the path alongside the “well-enough.”
When we open to receive this gift, possibly for the first time in our lives, we fall in love with ourselves.
Love heals all things.
Resources, References, and Influences for this Post:
- Gathering Moss Robin Wall Kimmerer
- Becoming Supernatural Dr. Joe Dispenza
- Gene Keys Richard Rudd
- The Culture of Possibility Arlene Goldbard
- Art and Wellbeing; Toward a Culture of Health Arlene Goldbard
- The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture usdac.org
- The Foundation for Art and Healing artandhealing.org
- I Stand for Love Sarah McCoy
- The United States Veterans’ Artists Alliance usvaa.org
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An empowered artist, creative wellness facilitator, arachnoiditis survivor, single parent, and U.S. Army Veteran; Sheila L. Kalkbrenner is creating art and equitable access to local creative things in Allegany County, NY.